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Metro Brief: Norton to introduce House bill to strip NFL of tax exempt status

District of Columbia

On December 31, 1969

Credit: Keith Allison/Creative Commons

The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) recently announced  that, when the House reconvenes, Norton will introduce legislation to strip the NFL of its tax exempt status as long as it continues to promote the current name of its Washington football team. 

Norton’s bill will be the House companion to Senator Maria Cantwell’s (D-WA) bill, which she announced two weeks at a Change the Mascot campaign press conference.  Norton and Cantwell both spoke at the press conference, which was initiated by the National Congress of American Indians, the Oneida Nation, and other native tribes.  

“We must relieve the American people of the burden of subsidizing an organization that promotes a racial slur for profitable gain,” Norton said. 

Last year, Norton was one of the nine original cosponsors of H.R. 1278, the Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act, which calls for the cancelation of existing trademark registrations containing the Washington football team name.  The House bill helped alert the country that the Washington football team name is a racial slur. 

Norton also joined several of her colleagues in sending a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Washington football team sponsor FedEx, team owner Dan Snyder, and the 31 other NFL franchises, urging them to support a change to the Washington football team name.  

In June, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington football team’s trademark registration. Norton and Cantwell’s legislations prohibit tax-exempt status only for professional sports leagues that promote use of the Washington football team name, excluding sports leagues such as the National Hockey League and Professional Golfers Association, which receive the same tax-exempt status.

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